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EU

Europe Agrees On Regulatory Drone Framework 5

Posted by Soulskill
from the american-regulators-still-arguing-about-what-email-is dept.
Hallie Siegel writes: Not a week goes by where some aspect of drone regulation fails to make the news. But for any regulated industry where technology is advancing faster than new rules can be agreed upon, it will undoubtedly cause a few headaches. This week closes with a very positive announcement from European stakeholders on the future of drones. During a two-day conference in Riga, the European aviation community found broad agreement on the main principles to guide a regulatory framework to allow drone operations throughout Europe from 2016 onward.
Google

Google Quietly Launches Data Saver Extension For Chrome 39

Posted by timothy
from the keeping-track-of-things dept.
An anonymous reader writes Google has quietly released a Data Saver extension for Chrome, bringing the company's data compression feature to the desktop for the first time. You can download the extension, currently in beta, from the Chrome Web Store. We say "quietly" because there doesn't seem to be an announcement from Google. The extension was published on March 23 and appears to work exactly as advertised on the tin, based on what we've seen in our early tests.
Facebook

Facebook Makes Messenger a Platform 48

Posted by samzenpus
from the stand-on-your-own-two-feet dept.
Steven Levy writes At Facebook's F8 developer conference, the ascension of the Messenger app was the major announcement. Messenger is no longer just a part of Facebook, but a standalone platform to conduct a wide variety of instant communications, not only with friends, but with businesses you may deal with as well. It will compete with other messaging services such as Snapchat, Line and even Facebook's own WhatsApp by offering a dizzying array of features, many of them fueled by the imagination and self-interest of thousands of outside software developers.
Government

Gen Con Threatens To Leave Indianapolis Over Religious Freedom Bill 861

Posted by samzenpus
from the rolling-in-another-place dept.
Grymalkin writes A controversial religious freedom bill has passed the Indianapolis Senate and is now awaiting Governor Mike Pence's signature to become law. Supporters claim that this bill will protect business owners from excessive government control while opponents argue it is just a veiled attempt to allow those same business owners to deny services to individuals because of their sexual orientation. Now, Gen Con has released a statement saying this bill will influence their decision to keep the convention in Indiana. This announcement has tourism officials worried as Gen Con brings in roughly 50,000 visitors each year, contributing $50 million to the local economy. So far Gen Con's announcement has not swayed the Governor who says he is looking forward to signing the bill into law. Gen Con currently has a contract with the Indy Convention Center through 2020. No word yet as to exactly when the convention would be moved should the bill become law.
Encryption

OpenSSL Security Update Less Critical Than Expected, Still Recommended 64

Posted by timothy
from the man-nips-dog dept.
An anonymous reader writes As announced on Monday, the OpenSSL project team has released new versions of the cryptographic library that fix a number of security issues. The announcement created a panic within the security community, who were dreading the discovery of another Heartbleed-type bug, but as it turns out, the high severity issue fixed is a bug than can be exploited in a DoS attack against servers. Other issues fixed are mostly memory corruption and DoS flaws of moderate and low severity.
Piracy

Microsoft Offers Pirates Amnesty and Free Windows 10 Upgrades 322

Posted by Soulskill
from the fighting-fire-with-free-gasoline dept.
An anonymous reader writes: Microsoft will make Windows 10 available as a free upgrade even to pirated copies of other Windows operating systems in China. Terry Myerson of Microsoft's operating systems unit made the announcement at the WinHEC technology conference in Shenzhen, China, and then told Reuters, "We are upgrading all qualified PCs, genuine and non-genuine, to Windows 10." Microsoft has a history of attempting to tackle massive and rising software piracy rates in Asia and developing countries, and periodically offers low-cost "licence amnesties" to the worst-offending countries, such as Indonesia and Kenya. Update: 03/18 14:59 GMT by S : Microsoft has clarified that the free upgrade will be offered for unlicensed copies of Windows worldwide, not just in China.
Cloud

Google Nearline Delivers Some Serious Competition To Amazon Glacier 71

Posted by samzenpus
from the in-the-clouds dept.
SpzToid writes Google is offering a new kind of data storage service – and revealing its cloud computing strategy against Amazon Web Services and Microsoft Azure. The company said on Wednesday that it would offer a service called Nearline, for non-essential data. Like an AWS product called Glacier, this storage costs just a penny a month per gigabyte. Microsoft's cheapest listed online storage is about 2.4 cents a gigabyte. While Glacier storage has a retrieval time of several hours, Google said Nearline data will be available in about three seconds. From the announcement: "Today, we're excited to introduce Google Cloud Storage Nearline, a simple, low-cost, fast-response storage service with quick data backup, retrieval and access. Many of you operate a tiered data storage and archival process, in which data moves from expensive online storage to offline cold storage. We know the value of having access to all of your data on demand, so Nearline enables you to easily backup and store limitless amounts of data at a very low cost and access it at any time in a matter of seconds."
Businesses

Gigaom Closes Shop 101

Posted by timothy
from the that's-a-shame dept.
Presto Vivace writes "What a loss for the tech community," linking to this announcement at Gigaom that the site is shutting down: Gigaom recently became unable to pay its creditors in full at this time. As a result, the company is working with its creditors that have rights to all of the company's assets as their collateral. All operations have ceased. We do not know at this time what the lenders intend to do with the assets or if there will be any future operations using those assets. The company does not currently intend to file bankruptcy. We would like to take a moment and thank our readers and our community for supporting us all along. — Gigaom management Reader bizwriter adds a link to this story on the shutdown.
Earth

El Nino Has Finally Arrived, Far Weaker Than Predicted 235

Posted by timothy
from the weather-is-hard dept.
An anonymous reader writes "The periodic warm weather pattern called El Niño has finally arrived in the mid-equatorial Pacific Ocean, more than a year late and far weaker than predicted by scientists. "The announcement comes a year after forecasters first predicted that a major El Niño could be in the works. At the time, NOAA predicted a 50% chance that an El Niño could develop in the latter half of 2014. The agency also said the wind patterns that were driving water east across the Pacific were similar to those that occurred in the months leading up to the epic El Niño of 1997, which caught scientists by surprise and contributed to flooding, droughts and fires across multiple continents.

In the end, last year's forecasts came up short, in part because the winds that were driving the system petered out. Researchers, who have been working to improve their forecasting models since 1997, are trying to figure out precisely what happened last year and why their models failed to capture it."
Cellphones

Ikea Unveils Furniture That Charges Your Smartphone Wirelessly 95

Posted by samzenpus
from the power-up dept.
pbahra writes Swedish furniture maker Ikea unveiled a new range of furniture that it says can wirelessly charge some mobile devices. The Swedish furniture giant made the announcement on Sunday at Mobile World Congress in Barcelona. Ikea's introduction of wireless charging functionality on some of its new furniture heats up the battle for a global wireless charging standard, of which there are currently three, all struggling to become the global leader.
Earth

Methane-Based Life Possible On Titan 69

Posted by Soulskill
from the it's-life-jim-but-not-as-we-know dept.
Randym writes: With the simultaneous announcement of a possible nitrogen-based, cell-like structure allowing life outside the "liquid water zone" (but within a methane atmosphere) announced by researchers at Cornell (academic paper) and the mystery of fluctuating methane levels on Mars raising the possibility of methane-respiring life, there now exists the possibility of a whole new branch of the tree of life that does not rely on either carbon or oxygen for respiration. We may find evidence of such life here on Earth down in the mantle where "traditional" life cannot survive, but where bacteria has evolved to live off hydrocarbons like methane and benzene.
Twitter

Twitter Adds "Report Dox" Option 101

Posted by timothy
from the better-late-than-never dept.
AmiMoJo writes Twitter announced that its abuse-report system, which was recently refined to simplify and shorten the reporting process, has now expanded to allow users to report content such as self-harm incidents and "the sharing of private and confidential information" (aka doxing). The announcement, posted by Twitter Vice President of User Services Tina Bhatnagar, explained that December's report-process update was met with a "tripling" of the site's abuse support staff, which has led to a quintupling of abuse report processing. Chat logs recently revealed how Twitter is used by small groups to create vast harassment campaigns, thanks to sock puppet account and relative anonymity.
Portables

Lenovo Saying Goodbye To Bloatware 210

Posted by Soulskill
from the time-to-start-demanding-other-vendors-follow-suit dept.
An anonymous reader writes: "Lenovo today announced that it has had enough of bloatware. The world's largest PC vendor says that by the time Windows 10 comes out, it will get rid of bloatware from its computer lineups. The announcement comes a week after the company was caught for shipping Superfish adware with its computers. The Chinese PC manufacturer has since released a public apology, Superfish removal tool, and instructions to help out users. At the sidelines, the company also announced that it is giving away 6-month free subscription to McAfee LiveSafe for all Superfish-affected users.
Education

L.A. School Superintendent Folds on Laptops-For-Kids Program 139

Posted by timothy
from the but-they-were-only-tax-dollars dept.
In an announcement yesterday reported on by Ars Technica, [Los Angeles school superintendent] Ramon C. Cortines said that the city can't afford to buy a computer for every student. The statement comes after intense controversy over a $1.3 billion initiative launched by Cortines' predecessor, former superintendent John Deasy, in which every student was supposed to be given an iPad loaded with content from educational publisher Pearson. (That controversy is worth reading about, and sparked an FBI investigation as well.)
Microsoft

How Machine Learning Ate Microsoft 96

Posted by samzenpus
from the doing-it-smarter dept.
snydeq writes Yesterday's announcement of Azure Machine Learning offers the latest sign of Microsoft's deep machine learning expertise — now available to developers everywhere, InfoWorld reports. "Machine learning has infiltrated Microsoft products from Bing to Office to Windows 8 to Xbox games. Its flashiest vehicle may be the futuristic Skype Translator, which handles two-way voice conversations in different languages. Now, with machine learning available on the Azure cloud, developers can build learning capabilities into their own applications: recommendations, sentiment analysis, fraud detection, fault prediction, and more. The idea of the new Azure offering is to democratize machine learning, so you no longer need to hire someone with a doctorate to use a machine learning algorithm."
The Internet

What Your Online Comments Say About You 267

Posted by Soulskill
from the everyone-else-is-wrong dept.
circletimessquare writes: The New York Times has a piece summarizing some recent research and recent discussion about the quality, or lack thereof, of online comments. "[Washington State University researchers] found that the comments on a public-service announcement about vaccination affected readers' attitudes as strongly as the P.S.A. itself did. When commenters were identified by their level of expertise with the subject (i.e. as doctors), their comments were more influential than the P.S.A.s. Online readers may put a lot of stock in comments because they view commenters 'as kind of similar to themselves,' said Mr. Weber — 'they're reading the same thing, commenting on the same thing.' And, he added, many readers, especially those who are less Internet-savvy, assume commenters 'know something about the subject, because otherwise they wouldn't be commenting on it.' The mere act of commenting, then, can confer an unearned aura of credibility."
Graphics

Wayland 1.7.0 Marks an Important Release 189

Posted by Soulskill
from the onward-and-upward dept.
jones_supa writes: The 1.7.0 release of Wayland is now available for download. The project thanks all who have contributed, and especially the desktop environments and client applications that now converse using Wayland. In an official announcement from Bryce Harrington of Samsung, he says the Wayland protocol may be considered 'done' but that doesn't mean there's not work to be done. A bigger importance is now given to testing, documentation, and bugfixing. As Wayland is maturing, we are also getting closer to the point where the big Linux distros will eventually start integrating it to their operating system.
Science

Scientists In China Predict Pentagonal Graphene 42

Posted by Soulskill
from the five-sides-to-every-story dept.
TechkNighT_1337 writes: Chinese scientists made calculations and predict that a new 2D allotrope of carbon based in a pentagonal form resembling a common pavement in the streets of Cairo can be synthesized. They call this new form penta-graphene. From the announcement in the Chemistry World, they say: "The team found that not only should a pentagon-containing version of graphene be fairly stable, it should also be stronger than conventional graphene and be able to withstand higher temperatures, up to 730C. It would also be a natural semiconductor, unlike conventional graphene, which is a highly efficient conductor and has to be chemically modified to turn it into a semiconductor."
Cellphones

Smartphone Theft Drops After Spread of Kill Switches 190

Posted by Soulskill
from the stated-purposes-and-unstated-purposes dept.
alphadogg writes "Thefts involving smartphones have declined dramatically in three major cities since manufacturers began implementing 'kill switches' that allow the phones to be turned off remotely if they are stolen, authorities said on Tuesday. The number of stolen iPhones dropped by 40 percent in San Francisco and 25 percent in New York in the 12 months after Apple added a kill switch to its devices in September 2013. In London, smartphone theft dropped by half, according to an announcement by officials in the three cities.
Movies

Spider-Man Finally Joining the Marvel Cinematic Universe 98

Posted by Soulskill
from the will-live-and-die-and-live-and-die-and-live-again dept.
New submitter Chas writes: After years of Marvel fans screaming for a more unified approach to the Marvel Cinematic Universe between the property-holders (Sony, Marvel, Fox), Marvel has announced that they've reached a deal with Sony to bring Spider-Man into the MCU.

From the announcement: "Under the deal, the new Spider-Man will first appear in a Marvel film from Marvel's Cinematic Universe (MCU). Sony Pictures will thereafter release the next installment of its $4 billion Spider-Man franchise, on July 28, 2017, in a film that will be co-produced by Kevin Feige and his expert team at Marvel and Amy Pascal, who oversaw the franchise launch for the studio 13 years ago. Together, they will collaborate on a new creative direction for the web slinger. Sony Pictures will continue to finance, distribute, own and have final creative control of the Spider-Man films. Marvel and Sony Pictures are also exploring opportunities to integrate characters from the MCU into future Spider-Man films."